Our Push to Best Customer Service

I often hear about different tactics to improve customer service, some are good ideas and some not as good. This isn’t to say every idea isn’t worth exploring but rather, successful customer service comes from one core thought:

Customer service starts with understanding the customer.

So we asked, and we listened carefully. We understand that with such a diverse group across government, we have to maintain multiple options to ensure we are able to meet our customers’ needs. We believe in empowering our customers by providing self-service options on our webpages, offering a variety of incoming channels and extended hours so customers can explain and clarify issues, and having a plan to better define and rapidly solve complex challenges.

Understanding GSA’s IT Customers

Our agency customers are each one of you who come to GSA for IT acquisitions and rely on us for customer service. Initially, you come to GSA for a wide array of technology solutions without the added cost and time of going Open Market. But, you will be more likely to continue to use GSA IT contracts to achieve cost savings if you know GSA is here to assist when needed.

You want to know what available solution(s) are best for your organizations, if the solutions can be customized, how to most easily order, and how to get specific questions answered.

We want you to have a positive experience you’ll remember and share with others. If we do our job right, we help save money for you and for U.S. taxpayers. If we don’t have the right solution and know of one elsewhere, we’ll tell you.

I’m proud to say that we’ve often been praised for providing outstanding service and many returning customers are a testament to that.  However, we also know that there are times we’ve missed the mark.

So, we are taking some actions to help enhance our customer service.

Opening up New Channels

To start, we want to make sure you know the latest self-service options available at your fingertips anytime, anywhere. We’ve added to our Need Help webpage more links to self-service tools so you can easily find answers and guidance on your own.

For example, from Need Help you can link to GSA’s latest IT Statement of Work templates and Ordering Guides, and check out our new IT Solutions Navigator tool, which will help you evaluate GSA’s IT and telecommunications solutions. Use it to conduct market research and identify IT solutions that best meet your requirements. We’re working hard to develop even more self-service tools for our customers.

We’ve also added new options to make it easier to reach us anytime—

  • Phone: 1-855-ITaid4U (1-855-482-4348) 24 hours a day, Monday-Friday
  • Live Chat: When a representative is available to interact with you via an online chat box, a blue Live Chat button will appear on the Need Help webpage. Use the Live Chat button to type in questions and connect immediately in an online chat box with a customer representative.
  • E-mail: ITCSC@gsa.gov

The 1-855-ITaid4U (1-855-482-4348) centralized toll-free number is geared specifically for answering your questions about GSA IT solutions and contracts (including IT Schedule 70). Centralizing our help desk lines should make it easier to provide you customer service and provide less confusion just like MAS Schedules also did recently for non-IT related GSA schedule questions.

We’ve also set up a new Customer Advocate team assigned to resolve your more complex issues, including those that span multiple contract vehicles and technology programs. If at any point during your inquiry or issue resolution you require a specialized program expert to meet your needs, ask us to escalate your issue to a customer advocate.

Our customer service mission is simple: We want to understand what you need—and deliver it.

Tell us what you need via our new multiple channels. And be sure to follow us and continue the conversation on Twitter@GSA_ITS.


GSA’s Reverse Auction – A new tool that saves you time and money

Note: This is a guest blog written by Erv Koehler, Regional FAS Commissioner, Southeast Sunbelt Region. His National IT Commodity Program Team in Atlanta has spearheaded the GSA Reverse Auction tool.

GSA is on a roll and literally rolling out new tools to help the government buy smarter by making the acquisition process better, faster, and cheaper.  On July 1, we were proud to launch GSA’s Reverse Auction Tool.  The tool is ideal for commercial items and simple services that can be purchased on a low price technically acceptable basis.

How does Reverse Auction help government?

As we enter the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2013, GSA aims to help agencies acquire goods and services more effectively while helping them save money. During these austere times we want to assist agencies to buy smarter so they can stay focused on their missions. Let’s look at some of the ways GSA’s Reverse Auction Tool can help:

Better  – There is no additional fee for GSA’s Reverse Auction.  12 GSA Schedules, 6 VA Schedules, and multiple Schedules-based Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) are already loaded.  The system is familiar and easy to use because it is based on GSA’s eBuy and eLibrary.  Even users’ Reverse Auction and eBuy logins are the same.  The tool also assists agencies and contracting officers in meeting FAR Compliance. The small business set-aside capability of Schedules and the fair opportunity process of eBuy are already built in.

Faster – A typical reverse auction lasts five days, and multiple bids are received.  Although Reverse Auction does not eliminate multiple quote requirements, it does offer a method of getting the quotes faster and provides the bid history to show price reasonableness based on competition.

Cheaper – Typical reverse auctions show an average savings of about ten percent when comparing the final price to the Independent Government Estimate (IGE).  And best of all, there is no additional fee for the use of GSA Reverse Auction.

Since our launch, we’ve already seen great interest in the tool. Eight agencies have already initiated more than 40 reverse auctions using GSA’s new reverse auction platform.

For more information, please visit us at reverseauctions.gsa.gov and contact us at reverseauctionshelp@gsa.gov or (855) 372-1094. We offer training sessions regularly.